Missouri school evaluation standards increase focus on individual school districts

Missouri’s new school evaluation standards, which will take effect in two years, have an increased focus on individual school districts, student growth, equity and collaboration.

The State Board of Education approved the sixth iteration of standards for the Missouri School Improvement Program on Feb. 11. The Missouri School Improvement Program has served as Missouri’s accountability system for reviewing and accrediting public school districts since 1990.

Student performance will continue to be the most important aspect of MSIP, said Chris Neale, assistant commissioner of quality schools for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The revisions include an emphasis on the needs of individual school districts. DESE is creating a survey for parents, students, teachers and administrators to provide feedback on climate, culture, safety and expectations help DESE better learn the needs of each district.

The Missouri School Improvement Program received input from about 170 stakeholders on the revision, who commonly expressed they would like MSIP to better measure their individual districts, Neale said.

Measuring districts’ individual priority areas will allow them to better improve, DESE Communications Coordinator Mallory McGowin said.

“We’re happy to respond to that feedback and provide this opportunity to continue being able to create a better picture about what success looks like in the districts across our state,” McGowin said.

The new standards also have an increased focus on individual students by tracking their academic progress, evaluating if they are on the right track and ensuring they have the support needed to be successful, Neale said.

It also includes a new emphasis on equity be ensuring districts know what their equity needs are and that they are addressed. Equity focuses on different aspects depending on the district, Neale said. For example, some districts may focus on race and some may focus on poverty.

Collaboration is another focus of MSIP 6, which Neale said has three levels: teachers, districts and outside entities. Teacher collaboration is important for student success, he said, and collaboration among school districts allows districts to learn from each other’s strengths. Collaboration with outside entities allows for internships and externships.

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